The Meaning of Anattå
Q. : There are four Applications of Mindfulness: mindfulness of the body, of feeling, of citta and of dhammas. The commentator 1 compares these four subjects with four gateways of a city, one of which faces east, one west, one north and one south. People can go the the center of the city by anyone of these four gates. Many teachers today say that just as one can use anyone of the gates to enter the city, it is sufficient to cultivate only one of the four Applications of Mindfulness; one does not need all four. Only mindfulness of the body would be sufficient. Can one then in this way reach nibbåna?
S. : The development of paññå is very subtle. It is not so that anyone who reads the Commentary can practise. Where is the gate? If people do not know where the gates are, through which gate can they enter?
Q. : The gates are: body, feeling, citta and dhammas.
S. : What do you know through the bodysense? One should really consider all realities in detail, no matter whether they are classified as khandhas, åyatanas 2, dhåtus (elements) or the noble Truths. They are not beings, people or self. Conditioned realities appearing in daily life are either nåma, the reality which experiences something, or rúpa, the reality which does not know anything. We may understand this in theory, but that is not the direct realization of the characteristic of non-self of nåma and rúpa. As far as the level of theoretical understanding is concerned, which stems from listening to the Dhamma, one may have no doubt that rúpa is real, that the rúpa which arises and appears through the eyes are only different colours. One may have no doubt that sound is the rúpa which appears through the ears, odour the rúpa which appears through the nose, flavour the rúpa which appears through the tongue, and so on. People may have no doubt that nåma is real, that it arises and experiences different objects, they can have theoretical understanding of this. However, if there is no awareness of the characteristic of nama, how can there be paññå which directly understands nåma as the reality which experiences an object, as the element, the nature which knows? Can the development of only awareness of the body be the condition to realize the characteristic of nåma?
The person who develops paññå should be aware of the characteristic of nåma while he is seeing. He can investigate and study that characteristic so that it can be realized as only a kind of experience. When there is hearing, there can be awareness of it and it can be understood as a reality which experiences sound. When someone develops satipaììhåna he should study and investigate time and again the characteristic of the nåma which experiences an object through one of the six doorways, so that he can understand nåma as it really is. When paññå realizes that there are nåmas which are not yet known, it will also study and investigate these, and in this way the characteristic of nåma can clearly appear as only an element which experiences, only a reality, not a being, person or self.
Someone may make an effort to be aware just of the characteristic of the nåma which hears and he is not aware of the nåma which sees. How can he then understand the true characteristic of the element which experiences while he is seeing? People can verify themselves that this is not the right way of development.
Paññå can develop by awareness which considers and studies the characteristics of the nåmas experiencing an object through the senses and through the mind-door. If paññå clearly understands all kinds of nåma which appear, if it understands these as the element which experiences an object, doubt about nåma can gradually be eliminated. Paññå can become keener and more accomplished as it develops in successive stages. However, if someone intends to know only one kind of nåma it is evident that there is still ignorance and doubt with regard to the characteristics of the other kinds of nåma he was not aware of. And thus, ignorance and doubt with regard to nåma as the element which experiences cannot be eliminated.
Q. : People gain understanding from listening to the Dhamma. When they practise they can attain the first stage of vipassanå ñåùa, defining of nåma and rúpa. They pass that stage.
S. : How do they pass that stage?
Q. : I do not know anything about that.
S. : People should not become excited about it that others have passed a stage of insight knowledge. It is by a persons own understanding that he can know that paññå has been developed to the degree of the first vipassanå ñåùa. He knows that insight knowledge realizes nåma and rúpa as they naturally appear, one characteristic at a time, in a mind-door process. At the moments of vipassanå ñåùa not merely one kind of nåma or one kind of rúpa has beeen penetrated.
Q. : Someone may have practised insight unto to the fifth stage of mahå-vipassanå ñåùa, the knowledge of dispassion (nibbidå ñåùa). He watches the rúpa which sits, stands or walks, and he practises until he reaches the knowledge of dispassion. I have doubts about how he watches the rúpa which sits, stands or walks. How should we practise so that we can attain that stage of vipassanå ñåùa?
S. : What is the first stage of insight, defining of nåma and rúpa? So long as one has not realized that stage yet one cannot attain knowledge of dispassion.
There is mindfulness of the body when sati is mindful of one characteristic at a time of rúpa paramattha, as it appears through the bodysense. It may be a rúpa such as cold, heat, softness, hardness, pressure or motion. Mindfulness of the body is not watching the postures of sitting, lying, standing or walking. When, for example, cold appears, there is only the characteristic of cold, there is no I, it is not mine, not self. If someone does not know the characteristic of rúpa as it appears through one doorway at a time, as only a kind of rúpa, he cannot even attain the first stage of insight knowledge, which discerns the difference between the characteristic of nåma and the characteristic of rúpa. How could paññå then realize the stage of knowledge of dispassion, the fifth stage of principal insight (mahå-vipassanå)?
Q. : In the section of Clear Comprehension (sampajañña) in the Satipaììhåna sutta, it is explained that when we are standing, we should know that we are standing, when walking, sitting, bending or stretching, we should know that we are doing this. We should know the characteristics of the different postures. When we know that we are walking while we are walking, is that the practice with regard to the rúpa which walks?
S. : If there would be no rúpa, could we walk?
Q. : If there would be no rúpa, it would be impossible to walk.
S. : When you are walking there is one characteristic of rúpa appearing at a time and it can be known as it appears through one doorway.
Q. : Is it rúpa which walks?
S. : The rúpa which appears, no matter whether we are sitting, lying down, standing or walking, appears through the sense-doors or through the mind-door. It is anattå, it appears anyway because of the appropriate conditions; it is of no use trying to select a particular rúpa.
Q. : As we have seen, in the Commentary, the Papañcasúdaní, a simile is used of the four gateways leading to the center of the city. A person who enters the city can enter through any one of these four gateways. Therefore, some people select a particular object; they develop only mindfulness of the body, not mindfulness of the other subjects of satipaììhåna.
S. : When someone reads the Commentary he ought to understand what paññå should know in order to eradicate wrong view which takes realities for self.
There are two kinds of realities: nåma and rúpa. So long as people do not clearly know the characteristics of nåma and rúpa, they take them for self.
As regards the wording, while walking, we should know that we are walking, in reality it is not I or self who is walking, but only rúpa. When sati is aware of the characteristics of rúpas of the body which appear while walking, there is mindfulness of the body (kåyånupassanå satipaììhåna 3). However, people cannot force sati to be aware all the time of rúpas appearing through the bodysense. Sati is anattå and it depends on conditions whether it will arise and be aware of a characteristic of nåma or rúpa. It can be aware of any characteristic of nåma or rúpa which arises and appears naturally, just as it is. The paññå which eradicates wrong view knows clearly the characteristics of nåma and rúpa as they appear through the six doors and it realizes them as non-self.
We read in the Kindred Sayings( IV, Saîåyatana vagga, Kindred Sayings on Sense, Fourth Fifty, Ch III, § 193, Udåyin):
Once the venerable Ånanda and the venerable Udåyin were staying at Kosambí in Ghosita Park. Then the venerable Udåyin, rising at eventide from his solitude, went to visit the Venerable Ånanda, and on coming to him... after the exchange of courtesies, sat down at one side. So seated the venerable Udåyin said to the venerable Ånanda:
Is it possible, friend Ånanda, just as this body has in divers ways been defined, explained, set forth by the Exalted One, as being without the self,-- is it possible in the same way to describe the consciousness, to show it, make it plain, set it forth, make it clear, analyze and expound it as being also without the self?
Just as this body has in divers ways been defined, explained, set forth by the Exalted One, as being without the self, friend Udåyin, so also is it possible to describe this consciousness, to show it, make it plain, set it forth, make it clear, analyze and expound it as being also without the self.
Owing to the eye and visible object arises seeing-consciousness, does it not, friend?
Well, friend, it is by this method that the Exalted One has explained, opened up, and shown that this consciousness also is without the self.
(The same is said with regard to the other doorways.)
If someone does not clearly know the reality which is nåma, doubt has not been eliminated yet. If there is still doubt how can he realize the noble Truths? Through which gate will he enter? The gateways mentioned in the Commentary refer to the moment before lokuttara citta arises and realizes nibbåna. In the process of attaining enlightenment, mahå-kusala kåmåvacara citta (of the sense sphere) arises before lokuttara citta arises, and it depends on conditions which of the four satipaììhånas this kåmåvacara citta takes as object 4. However, this does not mean that someone could enter the city, that is, realizing nibbåna, without clearly knowing the characteristics of rúpakkhandha, vedanåkkhandha, saññåkkhandha, saòkhårakkhandha and viññåùakkhandha.
Before someone can understand that this body is anattå and that evenso this consciousness is anattå, the characteristics of nåma and rúpa appearing at this moment must be described, showed, made plain, set forth, made clear, analysed and expounded, as we read in the Sutta. Characteristics of nåma and rúpa appear at this moment, while we see, hear, smell, taste, experience tangible object or think.
It is not easy to be able to penetrate the meaning of anattå, to understand the true nature of all realities, to realize them as anattå. If Ånanda had not been a sotåpanna, he would not have known thoroughly the realities which are nåma and rúpa. Only paññå of that degree can eradicate wrong view which takes nåma and rúpa for self, being or person. If Ånanda had not been a sotåpanna he could not have said to Udåyin that it is also possible to describe consciousness, to show it, make it plain, set it forth, make it clear, analyze it and expound it as being anattå. Therefore, the characteristics of nåma and rúpa are manifest to the degree that paññå has realized the true nature of dhammas. At this moment realities arise and then fall away very rapidly. If a person has not realized the true nature of realities, they do not appear to him as they are, even if he says that, while there is seeing or hearing, nåma is the element which experiences an object. Whereas, when realities have appeared to him as they are, it is evident that he clearly knows their true characteristics.
Ånanda had no doubt about the characteristics of nåma and rúpa, no matter through which doorway they appeared. If someone at the present time thinks that he should only develop mindfulness of one of the four Applications of Mindfulness, such as mindfulness of the body, or that he should only know one type of nåma or rúpa, could he know the true characteristics of nåma and rúpa? If he would understand the truth of realities, why does he not know, while he is seeing, the nåma which experiences an object through the eyes, as the element which sees? Why does he not know, while he is hearing, the nåma which experiences an object through the ears, the element which hears? Why does he not realize, while thinking, that it is only nåma which knows conceptions or words? If he would really understand what nåma is, he would be able to understand the true nature of the element which experiences an object.
There is a way to find out whether one knows the truth of realities or not. When a nåma or rúpa appears through one of the six doors and paññå can distinguish between the characteristic of nåma and the characteristic of rúpa, their characteristics are known as they are. Paññå should be able to discern the different characteristics of nåma and of rúpa when there is seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, experiencing tangible object or thinking. In this way the meaning of anattå can be penetrated; the nåma and rúpa which appear can be realized as anattå.
When Ånanda asked Udåyin whether seeing-consciousness arises owing to the eye and visible object, Udåyin had no doubt about eyesense and the rúpa appearing through the eyes, while seeing at that moment. We read further on in the Sutta that Ånanda said:
Well, if the condition, if the cause of the arising of seeing-consciousness should altogether, in every way, utterly come to cease without remainder, would any seeing-consciousness be evident?
Surely not, friend.
Well, it is by this method that the Exalted One has explained, opened up, and shown that this consciousness also is without the self.
If one really understands that while there is hearing, there is no seeing, one can know the characteristics of realities as they are. When there is thinking about different matters there is no seeing, no hearing. There is only the nåma which thinks at such a moment about different subjects. In this way the characteristics of realities can be understood as they are.
As Ånanda said to Udåyin, seeing arises dependent on eyesense and visible object which appears through the eyes, but, when eyesense and visible object which are impermanent have completely fallen away, how could seeing arise? Seeing must fall away.
If someone at this moment would clearly know the characteristic of the reality which experiences an object, as an element which experiences, he would have attained already the first stage of insight knowledge, the defining of nåma and rúpa 5. One cannot develop paññå immediately to the degree of insight which is the fifth stage of Principal Insight, knowledge of dispassion (nibbidå ñåùa). After the first stage of insight paññå has to be developed further so that it can directly understand conditions for the realities which arise. The second stage of insight is discerning conditions for nåma and rúpa (paccaya-pariggaha-ñåùa).
Then paññå can be developed further to the degree of realizing the arising and falling away of realities in succession. This is the third stage of insight, comprehension by groups (sammasana ñåùa).
After that paññå should be developed to the degree of realizing the arising and falling away of one reality at a time, separately. This is the first stage of principal insight (mahå-vipassanå), knowledge of the arising and falling away of nåma and rúpa (udayabbaya ñåùa).
After that paññå must be developed further so that it can penetrate more the impermanence of realities which fall away all the time. This is the second stage of principal insight, knowledge of dissolution (bhaòga ñåùa). Then paññå must be developed still further to the stage of seeing more clearly the danger and disadvantage of the falling away of realities. This is the third stage of principal insight, knowledge of appearance as terror (bhaya ñåùa). After that the fourth stage can be realized, which is knowledge of danger (ådínava ñåùa). After that paññå should be developed to the degree of the fifth stage of insight, knowledge of dispassion (nibbidå ñåùa). After that several more stages of insight have to be reached before enlightenment can be attained.
Paññå should understand directly the characteristics of realities. It is impossible to enter the gateway to nibbåna if the characteristic of nåma is not known, and if only the postures of sitting, lying down, standing or walking are known. If someone knows which posture he has assumed, he has only remembrance or perception of the rúpas which arise together in different compositions and constitute a whole of a posture. He does not realize the characteristics of nåma and rúpa, one at a time, as they arise and appear naturally, just as they are, through the different doorways and then fall away.
As we read in the Sutta, Ånanda said to Udåyin with reference to seeing-consciousness, that the Buddha had explained that this is also without the self. Ånanda said to Udåyin:
Owing to the eye and visible object arises seeing-consciousness, does it not, friend?
Well, friend, it is by this method that the Exalted One has explained, opened up, and shown that this consciousness also is without the self.
He repeated the same about the other sense-cognitions and the consciousness which experiences objects through the mind-door.
This Sutta shows how beneficial it is that the Buddha explained the Dhamma completely and in all details. He explained about all types of citta, which are nåma. If someone could realize the noble Truths by having only one kind of object of mindfulness, of what use would it be that the Buddha explained about all the other dhammas? He explained all about seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, the experience of tangible object, thinking, pleasant and unpleasant feeling, remembrance and other dhammas. He did so in order to help people to be mindful of these realities, to consider, study and clearly comprehend them. That is the way leading to the complete eradication of doubt and wrong view about nåma and rúpa.
Someone may believe that, by knowing only one type of nåma or one type of rúpa, he can still realize the noble Truths. He pretends to be able to realize enlightenment, but he does not understand the characteristics of nåma and rúpa as they naturally appear, just as they are. Then he is sure to have doubt and uncertainty about the nåma and rúpa he believes he cannot know. It is evident that he in that way cannot attain enlightenment.
We read further on in the Sutta which was quoted above, about a simile Ånanda used. He said to Udåyin:
Suppose, friend, that a man should roam about in need of heart of wood, searching for heart of wood, looking for heart of wood, and, taking a sharp axe, should enter a forest. There he sees a mighty plaintain-trunk, straight up, new-grown, of towering height. He cuts it down at the root. Having cut it down at the root, he chops it off at the top. Having done so he peels off the outer skin. But he would find no pith inside, much less would he find heart of wood.
Even so, friend, a monk beholds no trace of the self nor of what pertains to the self in the sixfold sense-sphere. So beholding, he is not attached to anything in the world. Unattached he is not troubled. Untroubled, he is of himself utterly set free. So that he realizes, Destroyed is rebirth. Lived is the righteous life. Done is the task. For life in these conditions there is no hereafter.
We just read that Ånanda said that a man in search for heart of wood enters a forest and sees a mighty plaintain-trunk, straight up, new-grown, of towering height. So long as it is a plaintain-trunk it still has the appearance of a whole. Then we read, Having cut it down at the root, he chops it off as the top. Having done so, he peels off the outer skin. We should eliminate clinging to what we are used to taking for a whole, for a thing, for self.
We then read, But he would find no pith inside, much less would he find heart of wood. Thus he becomes detached from the idea of plaintain-trunk. It is the same as in the case of a cow which is still not cut up by a cattle butcher, as we read in the Papañcasúdåní, the Commentary to the Satipaììhånasutta. If the cattle butcher does not skin it and cut it up in different parts he is bound to see it as a cow, he does not see it as different elements. So long as rúpas are still seen as joined together, one perceives them as a whole, or as a whole posture such as the sitting rúpa. People are bound to consider realities as a thing, a self, a being or person who is there. Only if someone knows nåma and rúpa as they are he does not take them for beings or people anymore. It is just as after peeling off the skin of the plaintain, any pith in it is not to be found, much less heart of wood. As we have read, Ånanda said: Even so, friend, a monk beholds no trace of self nor what pertains to the self in the sixfold sense-sphere.
In the sixfold sense-sphere (phassåyatana 6) there is no posture. Eyesense is an internal åyatana, and visible object is rúpåyatana, an external åyatana, it is only what appears through the eyes. Someone may see a person who is sitting and cling to the idea of person or self, although he says that there is no self. If he has only theoretical understanding he may not realize that the truth of anattå can be understood only by awareness of seeing and other realities which appear. Paññå should know that seeing only sees what appears through the eyes. After having seen visible object one thinks of and remembers the shape and form of what appears and knows what it is. Also at that moment there is a type of nåma which knows and remembers something, it is not a being, person or self who does so. When hearing arises which experiences sound through the ears, no remembrance remains of what was experienced through the eye-door, no remembrance of a perception of people sitting and talking to each other. When hearing presents itself, sati can be aware of the reality which hears, an element which experiences only sound. After that, citta thinks of words or conceptions, on account of different sounds, low and high, which have been heard. Paññå can know, when words are understood, that only a type of nåma understands the meaning of words.
If different types of realities are known, one characteristic at a time, as nåma and rúpa, the wrong view which takes realities for self is eliminated. One will let go of the idea of realities as a whole or a posture. Then it can be understood what it means to have inward peace, because citta does not become involved in outward matters, such as self, people or beings. There is no longer the world one used to cling to, the world outside, which is full of people and different things. There is no longer what one used to take for a particular person, for a thing, for self, all permanent and lasting. Whenever sati arises paññå can at that moment understand realities clearly, and then there is inward peace, because there are no people, beings or things. Whereas, when there are many people, many conceptions in ones life, there is no peace. If someone sees a person he is acquainted with or he has a particular relation with, he thinks, as soon as he has seen him even for a moment, a long story about him. If he sees a person he does not know, the story is short; he thinks only for a little while about him and then the story is over. He does not continue to think about him.
As a person develops paññå, he acquires more understanding of the excellent qualities of the Buddha and of the Dhamma he taught in all details. One can appreciate the teachings from the beginning level, the level of restraint, or guarding, of the senses (saóvara síla) with regard to the Påìimokkha, the Disciplinary code for the monks. This is the conduct through body and speech befitting the samana, the person who is a monk, who leads a peaceful life. We read in the Visuddhimagga (I, 50) about the restraint of the monk with regard to seeing:
What is proper resort as guarding? Here A bhikkhu, having entered inside a house, having gone into a street, goes with downcast eyes, seeing the length of a plough yoke, restrained, not looking at an elephant, not looking at a horse, a carriage, a pedestrian, a woman, a man, not looking up, not looking down, not staring this way and that. This is called proper resort as guarding.
This was said to remind us not to continue the story after the seeing and dwell on it for a long time, thinking in various ways of this or that person or matter. When we have seen, we should know that it is only seeing. No matter whether one looks no further than the length of a plough yoke ahead or not, there is seeing and then it is gone. In that way one will not be absorbed in the outward appearance and details. Paññå can clearly understand that it is just because of thinking that we are used to seeing the outward world which is full of people. If we do not think, there is only seeing and then it is gone. Can there be many people at that moment? However, one is used to thinking for a long time, and thus one is bound to think time and again of many different subjects. In what way someone thinks, depends on the conditions which have been accumulated. People may see the same thing, but each individual thinks differently. When people see, for example, a flower, one person may like it and think it beautiful, whereas someone else may dislike it. It all depends on the individuals thinking. Each person lives with his own thoughts, and thus, the world is in reality the world of thinking. When sati is aware of nåma and rúpa it will be clearly known that it is only a type of nåma which thinks of different subjects. If the characteristic of the nåma which thinks is clearly known, it can be understood that someones conception of people and beings is not real. When someone is sad and he worries, he should know that there is sadness just because of his thinking. It is the same in the case of happiness, it all occurs because of thinking. When someone sees on T.V. a story he likes, pleasant feeling arises because he thinks of the projected image he looks at. Thus, people live only in the world of thinking, no matter where they are. The world of each moment is nåma which arises and experiences an object through one of the sense-doors and through the mind-door, and after that citta continues to think of different stories.
Q. : You just said that happiness and sadness are only a matter of thinking. I do not understand this yet. Who likes to think of something which makes him unhappy? Nobody likes to be unhappy. In what way does a person think so that he is unhappy?
S. : It is not so that a person thinks in order to be unhappy. There are conditions for the arising of unhappiness due to the thinking.
Q. : Does this mean that there are conditions for sadness when someone, for example, has to part with his possessions or when he has lost a horse-bet? He returns home and thinks of the horse-bet he has lost. Then the horse-bet may be a condition for his unhappiness.
S. : If he would not think about the horse which has lost the race could there be sorrow about it?
Q. : No, there would not.
S. : When there is seeing or hearing and after that thinking, paññå should know that thinking is only a type of nåma which thinks about different subjects and then falls away. When someone thinks about a horse, there is no horse at that moment. There is remembrance of an idea or conception of a horse and this causes the arising of unhappiness. Thus, unhappiness arises because a person thinks about something he does not like, and happiness arises because he thinks about something he likes.
The Dhamma we study, the whole Tipiìaka, together with the Commentaries and Subcommentaries, have been taught so that paññå can arise and understand the realities which are naturally appearing at this moment, just as they are. People may have listened and studied much, they may have had many Dhamma discussions and pondered over the Dhamma very often, all their learning should aim at accumulating conditions, as saòkhårakkhandha (the khandha of activities or formations, cetasikas other than feeling and saññå, including all wholesome qualities), for the arising of right awareness. Then sati can be aware, study and consider the characteristics of the realities appearing at this moment through the sense-doors and the mind-door. People may have heard this time and again, but they need to be reminded to investigate the dhammas which are real, one at a time. Sati should be aware so that there can be right understanding of dhammas, otherwise they cannot be realized as anattå. Day in day out there are only nåma and rúpa, arising and falling away each moment. When they have fallen away, there is nothing left of them, they do not last even for a moment.
We should know that our enjoyment or sorrow which arose in the past have fallen away, that they are completely gone. Now there is just the present moment and it is only at this moment that we can study realities and understand them as not self, not a being or a person. Some people say that they do not wish to meet a particular person again in a next life. If they would have right understanding of the Dhamma, they would not have such thoughts. In a next life there will not be this or that person one meets at the present, nor will there be I. After death the existence of someone as this particular person in this life has definitely come to an end. Only in this life there is this person and in a next life he is another person. Therefore, one should not worry nor have anxiety about meeting a particular person again. This is impossible, since the existence as this or that person does not continue on to the next life.
If someone has irritation or annoyance about another person he should understand that in reality there is not that person. There are only dhammas, citta, cetasika and rúpa, which arise and then fall away. Life, in the ultimate sense, lasts only as long as one single moment of citta.
If we reflect time and again on death it can support the development of satipaììhåna. If we consider that we may die this afternoon or tomorrow, it can be a supporting condition for sati to be aware of the characteristics of nåma and rúpa which appear. For those who have not realized the noble Truths, thus, for those who are not ariyans, it is not certain whether, after the dying-consciousness has fallen away, the rebirth-consciousness will arise in a happy plane or in an unhappy plane of existence. It is not certain whether there will be again an opportunity to listen to the Dhamma and to develop satipaììhåna.
At death a person parts with everything in this life, it is all over. There is nothing left, not even remembrance. When a person is born into this life he does not remember who he was, where he lived and what he did in his former life. His existence as a particular person in a former life has come to an end. Evenso in this life, everything comes to an end. A person performs kusala kamma and akusala kamma, he may have conceit about his race, family, possessions, honour and fame, all this comes to an end. There will be no ties left with all the things in this life. All that we find so important in this life, all that we are holding on to and take for self, will come to an end. If people realize the true characteristics of paramattha dhammas which arise because of their own conditions, they will eliminate the inclination to take them for beings, people or self.
Even remembrance which arises and falls away is only a type of nåma. If sati is aware of nama and rúpa and paññå understands them clearly, one can let go of the wrong view of a self or person who exists in this life. One has realized the characteristic of momentary death (khaùika marana) of realities, their passing away at each moment. There are three kinds of death 7:
momentary death, khaùika marana, which is the arising and falling away of all conditioned dhammas,
conventional death, sammuti marana, which is dying at the end of a lifespan,
final death, samuccheda marana 8, which is parinibbåna, the final passing away of the arahat who does not have to be reborn.
1 See the Commentary to the Satipaììhåna Sutta, Middle Length Sayings no. 10, the Papañcasúdaní, in The Way of Mindfulness by Soma Thera, B.P.S. Kandy, Sri Lanka.
2 The internal åyatanas are the five senses and mind-base, including all cittas, and the external åyatanas are the sense objects and mental object.
3 Anupassanå means consideration or contemplation.
4 It can experience only one object at a time and it realizes that object as impermanent, dukkha or non-self.
5 Then paññå knows precisely nåma as being different from rúpa, paññå knows nåma as nåma.
6 Phassa is contact. There is contact due to the external åyatanas and the internal åyatanas.
7 Dispeller of Delusion, Commentary to the Book of Analysis, Classification of the Truths, 101.
8 Samuccheda means destruction.